It is no secret that Blockbuster’s earnings have been on a downward slope. While loss of market share to services such as Netflix and redbox have had an impact on their movie rental business, GameFly has been similarly damaging on the game rental side.
In response, Joystiq reports that Blockbuster has launched a test-run of its own “Games By Mail” service which will offer current Blockbuster Online subscribers the ability to have one game out at a time for $7.99 a month. This will be an additional cost on top of the regular online plan pricing, and game rentals will also count towards the base plan’s maximum disc per month and out-at-a-time limits. Fortunately, if no games are rented during a given billing period, the extra game rental plan price will not be charged.
This initial trial offers “over 3000 different games, including many popular new releases," and is currently available in the Cleveland, Ohio area with “plans to expand this nationwide before the end of the year.” These and other details can be found on Blockbuster's Games By Mail FAQ.
Blockbuster’s new approach is one that is long overdue and they find themselves going up against at least one entrenched opponent. One competitor that they won’t have to worry about is Netflix; VP Corp. Communications for Netflix, Steve Swasey, said via The Consumerist, "Movies are perennial. A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?" He may have a point.